Fiduciary duty is the legal term describing the relationship between two parties that obligates one to act solely in the interest of the other. The party designated as the fiduciary owes the legal duty to a principal, and strict care is taken to ensure no conflict of interest arises between the fiduciary and his principal.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) protects the retirement assets of Americans by implementing rules that qualified plans must follow to ensure plan fiduciaries do not misuse plan assets. Under ERISA, plans must provide participants with information about plan features and funding, and furnish information regularly and free of charge. In addition to insisting participants are informed, ERISA also gives participants the right to sue for benefits and breaches of fiduciary duty. To ensure participants do not lose their retirement contributions if a defined plan is terminated, ERISA guarantees payment of certain benefits through a federally chartered corporation, known as the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
A REIT is a type of security that invests in real estate through property or mortgages and often trades on major exchanges like a stock. A real estate investment trust, or REIT, is a corporation, trust or association that owns (and might also manage) income-producing real estate. REITs pool the capital of numerous investors to purchase a portfolio of properties—from office buildings and shopping centers to hotels and apartments, even timber-producing land—which the typical investor might not otherwise be able to purchase individually. REITs can offer tax advantages. For instance, qualified REITs that meet IRS requirements can deduct distributions paid to shareholders from corporate taxable income, avoiding double taxation. The REIT must also distribute at least 90 percent of its taxable income to shareholders annually. These distributions are taxable to the extent of any ordinary income and capital gains included in the distribution. There are two types of public REITS: those that trade on a national securities exchange and those that do not. REITs in this latter category are generally referred to as publicly registered non-exchange traded, or simply non-traded REITS.
Asset allocation is the rigorous implementation of an investment strategy that attempts to balance risk versus reward by adjusting the percentage of each asset in an investment portfolio according to the investor's risk tolerance, goals and investment time frame.
FINRA is the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. It resulted from the merger of the New York Stock Exchange’s regulatory committee and the NASD (National Associate of Securities Dealers). FINRA is the largest independent regulatory body for securities firms in the United States.
What is Variable Annuities?
A variable annuity is a tax-deferred retirement vehicle that allows you to choose from a selection of investments, and then pays you a level of income in retirement that is determined by the performance of the investments you choose. Compare that to a fixed annuity, which provides a guaranteed payout.